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Junius replied 12 years ago (May 23rd 2011, 8:56:38 pm)
I can't add anything to Slehar's wording. I think the problem is really one of false premises, or perhaps imprisonment in the 19th century. The philosopher takes as a premise that everything has to conform to 19th century Newtonian physics plus rather early stage neuroscience, and no argument is to convoluted if it supports this premise. Philosophical and other mainstream consciousness literature is often surprisingly science-lite. What is exasperating is that important findings in neuroscience, biology and even physics are simply ignored in the closed bubble of mainstream consciousness studies. Junius
Brent_Allsop replied 12 years ago (May 23rd 2011, 8:23:58 am)
Thanks Steve, this is a great way to put it. But the point here, isn't just repetitive arguing, as it seems to be in the peer reviewed literature, on Philsophy TV, and everywhere else, which I agree is a complete waste. The point here is to collaboratively developed concise descriptions of all these diverse ways of thinking about things, get a quantitative measure of which ones are waning, which ones are waxing, and why, so the true experts can find out, quantitatively, what works and what doesn't. Representational Qualia Theory makes real predictions about what the nuts and bolts researchers need to do, to start effing the ineffable, and discover the neural correlates that have them. Of course it is our prediction, that this is precisely what the researchers will find, and that doing so, will falsify competing theories, which we'll know definitively has been falsified, when all the most respected experts in those camps all do, finally start abandoning them, and join what science demonstrates to us all as true. Hopefully, Keith can describe, concisely, just what it is he believes, and why, and what he expects the scientists to demonstrate, that will prove him right, and make us convert to his camp, if such is really possible, or if there is something in what he is saying that we are still failing to fully grasp?
slehar replied 12 years ago (May 22nd 2011, 10:10:49 pm)
The reply to the claim that we don't actually experience the qualia that we *think* we experience, is very simple. Epistemologically speaking, experience is our first and most primal source of knowledge, even if that experience is a dream or hallucination, we can be absolutely certain that we are having that dream. In fact, the existence and nature of our experience is the ONLY thing of which we can be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN to be true. The properties of our experience, that it is spatially structured, the color qualia, pleasure and pain, are exactly AS THEY ARE EXPERIENCED TO BE and NO DIFFERENT. To claim that our experience is ANY DIFFERENT than we experience it to be is a CONTRADICTION IN TERMS. But you are wasting your breath arguing against someone who is so delusional as to deny the nature and existence of his own experience! He has got his epistemology all backwards - he has a theory of how perception works, and he is ready to deny the nature of his experience as he experiences it to make it fit with his cherished theory.
Brent_Allsop replied 12 years ago (May 22nd 2011, 7:27:28 pm)
The philosopher Keith Frankish, a star in the great new [http://www.philostv.com/richard-brown-and-keith-frankish philosophy TV episode] responded to my query about what the dispositional properties are that make us only think we have qualia, even though he argues we don't. (See the comments section below the video.) I'd like to point out why everyone in this "Representational Qualia Theory" camp is currently unable to accept these arguments, and want to do this here, so if anyone disagrees with my claim about everyone in this camp, and why we currently reject his arguments, or if you have a better way of saying any of this, you can let us know either here or there. Keith, when you say "I can't shake this intuition that this experience has a certain intrinsic, ineffable, subjective feel", we in this camp all have the working hypothesis that this 'subjective feel' is knowledge, and that if we have such knowledge, there must be something that is this knowledge and that it is this that has this subjective feel. Whether this knowledge is mistaken or not, has nothing to do with whatever nature this subjective feel has. Currently, for us, you are just waving your hand, and making impossible claims that we have some mistaken knowledge that doesn't really exist. For us, you must do more than just make a claim that we can know something, without having something that is the mistaken seeming, with a mysterious hand wave. You must provide a real mechanical or testable process of what this 'subjective feel' is, and how it comes into being, without it being anything. For example, might these dispositional properties be modified or enhance or connected in some way (perhaps like the corpus callosum) to enable us to think or make judgments about my red is like your green (or my green after a red green inverter is spliced into the perception process), in some way? Representational Qualia theory is making real, mechanical predictions that are very falsifiable - that there is something in our brain that reliably and detectably has these phenomenal properties, and that this is our knowledge. Can you provide a similar concise description that makes the same kind of real testable and working descriptions about what you are saying about with this seeming knowledge that you think is just mistaken? Such would certainly go a long way towards us being able to accept this seeming theory as something more for us than something that is something that is just mistaken and falsified.